On teen pregnancy, the state's efforts have really paid...


November 15, 1999

On teen pregnancy, the state's efforts have really paid off

Thanks for The Sun's article "Better message on teen pregnancy" (Nov. 9). Many dedicated individuals and organizations work with teen-agers to encourage healthy decision-making, so it is no wonder that Maryland's teen-age birth rate is declining faster than the national average.

The state's efforts to address teen-age pregnancy began in 1976 and continue today with the governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy's mass media and grassroots initiatives.

We are the only state in the nation with an executive-level organization devoted to adolescent pregnancy prevention.

The council's consistent ability to rise above individual legislative and agency agendas to pursue a comprehensive approach to teen-age pregnancy has become a model for the nation.

Through the council, Maryland has created hard-hitting media messages that have helped maintain public awareness and increase parent-child communication about sexuality.

In the past decade, we have initiated more than 25 intensive local programs. Since 1989, for example, the council's Adults and Children Talking program has provided information about communication skills and sexual development to young people, from birth to age 18.

The council's advocacy efforts have resulted in more accessible health care for adolescents and in child care for teen-age parents that enables them to finish school.

But what we're most proud of is Maryland's teen-agers, who have shown their ability to make good and wise decisions.

Patti Flowers-Coulson


The writer is director of the Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy.

Child-rearing instruction is taught in state's schools

We read with some concern Myriam Miedzian's column, "Schools should teach child-rearing skills" (OpinionCommentary, Nov. 1)

Although we concur with her premise that "child-rearing classes can teach children the basics of good parenting and encourage boys to break the cycle of irresponsible, indifferent and often violent fathering," we want to correct her assumption that these courses are not currently a part of the school curriculum.

Family and consumer sciences programs teach the all-important fourth "r" - rearing children. They help prepare students for the important work of the family.

In Maryland, family and consumer sciences programs are key components of the secondary school curriculum.

In middle school, students develop an understanding of relationships and put child development principles into practice in child care and babysitting units. High school programs include child development courses that prepare students to nurture the physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth of children, from birth to age six. Both boys and girls are enrolled.

It would be advantageous for all students to be required to complete at least one child development course.

Susan E. Garrett

Bel Air

The writer supervises family and consumer sciences in Harford County schools.

Reference to police officers from `Dundalk' was a slur

In Gregory Kane's column "Defense lawyer Murphy rejects belief that Baltimore police can be believed" (Nov. 7), the ever-tolerant Billy Murphy was quoted saying, "But do you really want zero tolerance enforced by guys who live in Dundalk?"

That's outrageous. Imagine the uproar if a white person had made such a statement, substituting the words "West Baltimore" for "Dundalk."

Mr. Murphy would have had Johnny Cochran on the phone before The Sun's ink was dry.

Patricia Owens


Hubbard shooting: blaming ministers is a bum rap . . .

A recent letter portrayed Larry Hubbard as a victim of the irresponsibility and negligence of "preachers, politicians, lawyers and community leaders" ("Other Larry Hubbards can be saved," Nov. 6) .

The letter asked why we publicity-seeking preachers didn't gather our flocks and go into the streets of East Baltimore to save Mr. Hubbard. Many church organizations are working on Baltimore's streets.

Most clergy were in their churches writing sermons, teaching classes, counseling parishioners, visiting the sick, burying the dead, comforting the bereaved, baptizing children and marrying young couples.

Where was Larry Hubbard when we were engaged in the normal routines of ministry?

It is a bum rap to suggest it was our fault that he chose a career in crime, instead of availing himself of the services churches offer.

The Rev. W. Norm MacFarlane


. . . who protects us when the police become abusive?

A letter writer recently agreed with Gregory Kane that polygraph tests should be given to witnesses to Larry Hubbard's shooting, since one can't always trust eyewitness accounts ("Where are witnesses to city's other crimes," Nov. 6).

One can't always trust police accounts, either. Should the officers also be tested?

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